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Letters from Lodi

An insightful and objective look at viticulture and winemaking from the Lodi
Appellation and the growers and vintners behind these crafts. Told from the
perspective of multi-award winning wine journalist, Randy Caparoso.

Randy Caparoso
 
April 7, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Legendary Chef Bradley Ogden elevates Lodi's Wine & Roses with a culinary spring fling

Wine & Roses Hotel's Consulting Chef Bradley Ogden

“A Light exists in Spring,” wrote Emily Dickenson, “Not present on the Year, At any other period...”

Although these exact words – expressing the radical changes felt all the way down to the bones when April flowers, and even showers, awaken spirits and senses – may not have been on the minds of the 28 people gathered this past Wednesday (April 5, 2017) in Wine & Roses Hotel’s Towne House Restaurant, our earth did seem to tilt, ever so slightly.

The event was a 6 course/6 wine spring themed celebration prepared by the celebrated Chef Bradley Ogden; where a heady Dickensonian joy was tasted in each nibble and sip, and the sense of clarity, promise and hope often associated with the early days of the vernal equinox permeated the air...

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Time Posted: Apr 7, 2017 at 12:20 PM Permalink to Legendary Chef Bradley Ogden elevates Lodi's Wine & Roses with a culinary spring fling Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
April 3, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Spring-fresh new releases at Lodi Wine & Food Festival

2017 Lodi Wine & Food Festival in Ole Mettler Grape Pavilion

For 35 years it was the Lodi Spring Wine Show, but now it is the Lodi Wine & Food Festival that takes place each year at the end of March or beginning of April on the grounds of the Lodi Grape Festival.

No matter, because the 2nd Annual Lodi Wine & Food Festival still had the feeling of spring, as it gave many of the participating Lodi wineries a chance to trot out their latest wines – including recently bottled 2016 whites and rosés, which are all vinified pretty much bone-dry (the days of sweet, tutti-fruity “vin rosé” are long gone, and even soda-pop-like White Zinfandel is pooh-poohed by the local vintners of today)...

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Time Posted: Apr 3, 2017 at 1:30 PM Permalink to Spring-fresh new releases at Lodi Wine & Food Festival Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
March 29, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Why Lodi is a barbecue lover's dream

Lodi winemaker Mike McCay and his specialty dry rubbed baby back pork ribs

Are we overstating things when we say that Lodi wines are ideal for barbecued foods?

Hear us out: Lodi is known – and sometimes faulted (particularly by more narrow minded wine press) – for growing softer, lusher, fruit-forward styles of wine.

We get that; but we also know there are advantages. Our climate falls within the warmer spectrum of what is defined as a classic, dry seasonal Mediterranean climate. That is to say, Lodi’s average temperatures are on the par with the mid-to-upper sections of Napa Valley (St. Helena and northwards) as well as Sonoma County regions up around Healdsburg, but without as much fog influence during the growing season.

This results in slightly narrower diurnal swings – summer nights that are not quite as cold, and summer days that are not quite as hot – which, when you think about it, are closer to what you actually find in the Mediterranean Basin (where classic “hot” wine regions, like France’s vast Provence, are even narrower in diurnal swings than anywhere on the West Coast). This subtle difference has an impact on grapes, and ultimately on Lodi's unique style of wines...

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Time Posted: Mar 29, 2017 at 1:00 PM Permalink to Why Lodi is a barbecue lover's dream Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
March 27, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi wine and cheese combinations we have known and loved

Lodi winegrower Ron Silva talking grapes, wine, cheese and life

Some of our most popular ZinFest Wine School “classes” over the past ten years have been our wine and cheese tastings; especially recently, since we’ve been able to count on the help of Lodi’s own local cheese master, Cindy Della Monica (owner of Downtown Lodi’s Cheese Central).

To get you warmed up for this year’s ZinFest wine and cheese tasting, we thought it a good idea to discuss the subject in cheesy detail. Why? Because it’s almost as much fun as sitting down with plates of cheese and glasses of wine to actually consume the subject! So here goes...

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Time Posted: Mar 27, 2017 at 7:00 PM Permalink to Lodi wine and cheese combinations we have known and loved Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
March 20, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Fun-tastic "schools" of food, wine and BBQ at 2017 Lodi ZinFest

ZinFest wine lover

It may be all about the vino – the deliciously round, lush, pure and balanced wines of the Lodi wine region – during the Saturday wine festival at 2017 Lodi ZinFest (May 20, 2017), but you can bet that you will be able to experience the liquid joy of Delta grown grapes in a variety of other stimulating ways.

Starting with the culinary and educational...

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Time Posted: Mar 20, 2017 at 2:45 PM Permalink to Fun-tastic Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
March 16, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Greg La Follette's Alquimista Zinfandel celebrates Lodi's "hallowed" ancient vines

Greg La Follette, an avowed bagpiper, celebrates his 2015 Jessie's Grove Royal Tee Vineyard harvest

Count Greg La Follette as another widely proclaimed winemaker based outside the Delta who has come to appreciate the distinct beauty of the Lodi Viticultural Area.

Mr. La Follette – who previously established his field creds as a North Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay specialist of considerable notoriety at wineries like Flowers, Hartford Family, De Loach, and most recently his own La Follette Wines (formerly called Tandem) – has recently begun selling “futures” for a 2015 Alquimista Cellars Jessie’s Grove Ancient Vine Zinfandel ($55). The Sebastopol/Sonoma based Alquimista Cellars is La Follette’s latest project, started two years ago in partnership with Patrick Dillon, following a disassociation from his former eponymous business...

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Time Posted: Mar 16, 2017 at 1:00 PM Permalink to Greg La Follette's Alquimista Zinfandel celebrates Lodi's Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
March 12, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Detailed notes on 2014 Lodi Natives (taking Zinfandel well beyond varietal expectations)

Coming out of a wet 2017 winter: old vine Zinfandel in Burness Vineyard on Lodi's east side

Quietly, individual members of the Lodi Native group have been offering their bottlings of 2014 Zinfandels – the third vintage of wines produced under the auspices of this independent project – at their respective wineries; while a 6-bottle selection packed in handsome wood boxes is available through the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center.

Two things distinguish the 2014 Lodi Native Zinfandels:

1. There were nine different Lodi Native Zinfandels produced in 2014; an increase from the six bottlings of the previous two, inaugural vintages.

2. In the 2014 6-pack box, two of the vineyard selections have changed from the previous two vintages.

Let us back up a little and talk about what the Lodi Native project is all about. It began at the start of 2012, when six of Lodi’s top Zinfandel specialists got together to establish a group project dedicated to producing wines under a single label, each one showing off the distinct sensory qualities engendered in different heritage plantings (i.e. vineyards over 40, 50, and in some cases, 100 years old) within the Lodi Viticultural Area...

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Time Posted: Mar 12, 2017 at 7:30 AM Permalink to Detailed notes on 2014 Lodi Natives (taking Zinfandel well beyond varietal expectations) Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
March 9, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

America's 30 largest wine producers (with ties to Lodi)

Recent shot of Michael David Winery Co-Owner/President David Phillips and VP of Operations Kevin Phillips

One of the more interesting reports logged by the industry trade publication, Wine Business Monthly, is a yearly list of 30 largest American wine production companies in terms of case sales within the U.S.

In the February 2017 issue of WBM, two companies with direct ties to Lodi – Delicato Family Vineyards (DFV Wines) and Michael David Winery – are listed among the 30 biggest selling companies, which account for "nearly 90 percent of domestic wine sold by volume" (according to WBM). The Lodi Viticultural Area, in fact, supplies a significant amount of wine grapes to many (if not most) of the country’s largest producers...

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Time Posted: Mar 9, 2017 at 3:00 PM Permalink to America's 30 largest wine producers (with ties to Lodi) Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
February 28, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Winter pruning and speaking the language of grape vines

Late February 2017 pruning of ancient Zinfandel vines (planted in 1889) in Jessie's Grove's Royal Tee Vineyard

It may look quiet, here in the Lodi Viticultural Area at the end of February 2017. But out in the fields, hundreds of the local industry’s most trusted hands are furiously pruning the grape vines before they come out of dormancy, which is typically about this time of year.

Weeks of biblical rains, of course, have delayed the process, which begins as early as November the previous year because, well, there are just so many darned grape vines to attend to...

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Time Posted: Feb 28, 2017 at 1:25 PM Permalink to Winter pruning and speaking the language of grape vines Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
February 22, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Majestic Zinfandel in all its guises (including Lodi's true-blue style)

Majestic Lodi icon: Rous Vineyard Zinfandel, planted in 1909, producing a classic, flowery, pure and lush style of the varietal (bottled by Ironstone Vineyards, Macchia Wines and McCay Cellars)

This is Zinfandel Advocates & ProducersZinEx week in San Francisco; which means, a great excuse to talk about one of our favorite subjects: California Zinfandel in all its wonderful, terroir driven varietal guises.

First things first: Lodiour AVA (i.e. American Viticultural Area) – grows a lush, gentle, fruit forward style of Zinfandel; an overall style very much an expression of the region’s sandy loam soils and moderate Mediterranean climate (comparable to St. Helena, Healdsburg or Paso Robles, Calif.), influenced by cool coastal air funneled through a break through the coastal mountains and the adjacent Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta...

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Time Posted: Feb 22, 2017 at 1:30 PM Permalink to Majestic Zinfandel in all its guises (including Lodi's true-blue style) Permalink
Contact

Lodi Wine Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road Lodi, CA 95242
209.365.0621
Open: Daily 10:00am-5:00pm

Lodi Winegrape Commission
2545 West Turner Road, Lodi, CA 95242
209.367.4727
Open: Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm

Have a question? Complete our contact form.